Granulated Garlic: Flavor Profile
Garlic is one of the world’s most flavorful herbs, used in nearly every world cuisine. Granulated garlic is one form that’s popular in the kitchen. Granulated garlic is made from dehydrated garlic – much like garlic powder. Yet, the grinding process creates a much coarser powder. It’s closer in texture to cornmeal (whereas the powder is more like cornstarch).
In cooking, granulated garlic delivers a sweeter flavor than fresh garlic. The taste is mild with the notes of garlic and onion, without being overbearing. It has numerous culinary uses. Granulated garlic can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, added to soups, stews and sauces to create complex flavors, or used in breadcrumb mixes for fried chicken.
Cooking with Granulated Garlic
You can use granulated garlic as a substitute for garlic powder. But be careful – they’re not substituted in a 1-to-1 ratio. Granulated garlic isn’t as fine as the powder, so you’ll need to add more granulated garlic than you would the powder to achieve a similar flavor profile. Typically, it’s 2 parts granulated garlic to 1 part powder.
Granulated garlic also takes a bit longer to release its flavor – which makes it ideal for dishes with longer cooking times. Typically, granulated garlic is used for:
- Soups and Stews – Granulated garlic is the better option for wet dishes, as it’s less likely to clump and it releases flavor over a longer period. Add the spice to soups and stews to add a burst of garlicy flavor.
- Dry Rubs – Granulated garlic tends to coat more evenly, and because it’s coarser it tends to mix well with other spices.
- Dressings and Sauces – Granulated garlic adds depth to the flavor of sauces and salad dressings, as well as a hint of texture.
Garlic is one of the world’s oldest crop, but it’s origins aren’t exactly known. Researchers tend to say the plant is native to Asia, because it grows there wildly in abundance. Yet, through history, garlic has been found in nearly every culture for thousands of years.
In Ancient Egypt, garlic was an important crop. It was produced to feed soldiers and laborers, and it was widely used in medicine. Garlic cloves were even found in King Tut’s tomb.
The Romans were also garlic connoisseurs. They used garlic in medicine and to feed sailors and soldiers. Pliny the Elder – a Roman physician – used garlic to treat numerous conditions, including indigestion, stomachache and nausea.
Surprisingly, though, garlic has been used as a spice for a much shorter period of time. It arrived in the Americas during the colonial period but remained mostly a medicinal plant. Not until the 1800s, did garlic become an important culinary herb. At the time, French chefs – who were establishing the modern restaurant industry – began experimenting with garlic to flavor sauces, soups and other dishes. They published their recipes in some of the first popular cookbooks. And these cookbooks inspired the world to use garlic in cooking. Slowly, its use spread throughout the world.
The U.S. was a little late to the party. It was primarily used in ethnic cooking until after WWII. Since the 1940s, garlic has been a popular spice in American kitchens.
There are numerous varietals of garlic, and the plant is grown in nearly every country in the world. A member of the Ameryllidacease family – which includes leeks, shallots and onions – garlic grows as a flower surrounded by green shoots.
The bulb is actually the root of the garlic plant. Commonly, there are two major distinctions when it comes to garlic – hardneck and softneck garlics.
Hardneck garlics have a stem that grows through the bulb, and as a result the bulbs are smaller with about 10 cloves per bulb. Many popular types of garlic are hardneck varieties, including Egyptian white garlic. The other type, softneck garlic, does not bolt or grow a flower. As a result, the bulbs are fuller and don’t feature a central stem.
In terms of taste, hardneck varieties tend to have a bolder flavor. They’re more oniony and garlicy, with a richer, spicier taste. Softneck varieties – which are most commonly found in grocery stores – tend to have a milder taste.
About Our Granulated Garlic
There’s a fierce debate about which country produces the best garlic. Some say it’s Gilroy, CA. Others believe China produces the most flavorful varieties.
Burma Spice sources our garlic from Egypt. Our network of boutique growers consistently produces great-tasting, rich garlic. We purchase cloves in bulk from growers, and process them by hand in our spice shop in South Florida.